HomeNewsFirearm-safety training public schools passes both Tennessee Chambers

Firearm-safety training public schools passes both Tennessee Chambers

Required coursework slated for 2025-26 school year

By Sabrina Bates

Staff Writer

A proposal to add firearm-safety curriculum in public schools across the state by State Rep. Chris Todd (R-73) of Madison County has cleared the 113th Tennessee General Assembly as of Friday.

Todd’s legislation, House Bill 2882, notes, beginning with school year 2025-26, public and public-charter schools in Tennessee requires the departments of education and safety, along with the Tennessee Fish and wildlife Commission, to study the earliest grade deemed appropriate for students to receive instruction on firearm safety in the classroom.

Students will learn firearm safety beginning at the grade level determined by the above-mentioned entities and every year after through the 12th grade.

When addressing fellow representatives, Todd emphasized the coursework simply states, “if you see a gun, tell an adult.” He said he thinks the measure “will save lives.” As safety is already a required part of public schools’ curriculum under the state’s SAVE Act that passed in 2020, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will be able to use the additional firearm-safety curriculum for compliance with the public act.

Each LEA and public charter school must determine how to best incorporate the instruction into the school year without adding time to the school day and it is up to each LEA to determine who would provide the training.

A handful of amendments proposed by House and Senate Democrats that would give parents and LEAs an opt-out of the curriculum failed in both Chambers.

The bill outlines the following coursework:

  1. Teach students safe storage of firearms, school safety relating to firearms, how to avoid injury if the student finds a firearm, to never touch a found firearm, and to immediately notify an adult of the location of a found firearm;
  2. Be viewpoint neutral on political topics, such as gun rights, gun violence, and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution; and
  3. Not include the use or presence of live ammunition, live fire or live firearms.

This bill authorizes the instruction to be provided in a classroom setting, through the viewing of a video, or through the review of online resources or materials, as determined by the department of education. 

At one point as the bill made its way through various committees, State Rep. Justin J. Pearson (D-86) of Memphis requested the coursework not involve the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, claiming the NRA was not viewpoint neutral as mandated by the bill. His amendment failed in a House committee session in February.

Tennessee House members passed the bill with a 79-12 vote.

Last week, the Tennessee Senate substituted its version for Todd’s House bill, which cleared the Senate by a vote of 24-3.

The required curriculum is slated for the 2025-26 school year in Tennessee public and public-charter schools.


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